The Healing Power of Psychodrama

Drama can be more than just fun and games – an important branch of therapy called Psychodrama uses it to help people understand their problems and find ways to deal with them.

Registered psychologist Charissa Bloomberg offers workshops to this exciting technique which is still virtually unheard of in South Africa.

Psychodrama is an action and experimental form of group psychotherapy that uses role-play to help people gain insight into their problems. It brings play, spontaneity and creativity to therapy.

“Show me, don´t tell me” is the guiding principal of psychotherapy, developed by psychiatrist Jacob Moreno about 80 years ago. Moreno believed that spontaneity and play were curative and that people could help themselves by getting in touch with their creativity. Observing children who don´t always talk about their problems,but act them out, Moreno reasoned that as adults we become “stuck” and lose the spontaneity and creativity we once had.

Through role-play and specific action techniques the problem of trauma is relived which releases the individual from its power. By re-enacting the scene, you access the emotions. Insight and healing are more readily achieved after emotions have been stirred and there is cognitive or emotional shift as long as it is “contained” and closure is achieved afterwards. There is a closure section in each therapy session where the group shares what has taken place in a supportive environment and what it meant for them.

Psychodrama enables individuals to `act out´ and explore themselves, the problems in their environment, and their difficult relationships. It allows one to react to one´s discoveries and in turn learn from them.

Psychodrama TrainingPeople often hide their feelings due to the pressures placed on them by themselves and their peers. If not given an outlet (which psychodrama offers) they can feel stifled, frustrated and angry. Psychodrama provides a social context where it is appropriate to share emotions. It is in this context that one´s fears and feelings, which were being suppressed, can now be accepted.

Role-play is also used to teach one the skills to be assertive and say no. Different scenarios are role-played in which adolescents and adults are put into difficult situations and can learn to negotiate assertive communication skills and say NO.

It also provides therapy and support to those individuals who have been involved in substance, emotional and physical abuse. It empowers them to take responsibility for their lives and gives them the life skills to do so. It also helps them to integrate values and morals into the learning process. People can sculpt how they would like their image to be ideally represented. They are then encouraged to look at how they would need to change their situation to make it closer to the ideal.psychodrama training

Through the medium of psychodrama, individuals are able to express themselves, learn new skills, test them in a safe environment, gain insight into themselves and learn to support each other. Psychodrama is therefore an evocative medium that aims at encouraging expression.